Which Crosstown Team Would Be Best?

By JON BECKER

Yesterday, SNY’s Andy Martino tweeted a question to his followers: Would an All-New York team, made up of players from the Mets and Yankees, win the World Series?

I tend to think yes, and pretty easily to boot. But would the New York Mankees (Yets? Metsees?) be best of the crosstown teams? Let’s find out by making three teams, one for each of the three cities with two teams, and comparing. Let’s start with the offenses:

STARTING LINEUPS

 New YorkLos AngelesChicago
CGary Sanchez (NYY)Will Smith (LAD)Willson Contreras (CHC)
1BPete Alonso (NYM)Cody Bellinger (LAD)Anthony Rizzo (CHC)
2BGleyber Torres (NYY)Max Muncy (LAD)Yoan Moncada (CWS)
3BGio Urshela (NYY)Justin Turner (LAD)Kris Bryant (CHC)
SSAmed Rosario (NYM)Corey Seager (LAD)Javier Baez (CHC)
LFJeff McNeil (NYM)Alex Verdugo (LAD)Kyle Schwarber (CHC)
CFAaron Hicks (NYY)Mike Trout (LAA)Jason Heyward (CHC)
RFMichael Conforto (NYM)Kole Calhoun (LAA)Nicholas Castellanos (CHC)
DHAaron Judge (NYY)Shohei Ohtani (LAA)Jose Abreu (CWS)

We’re aware that we’re cheating by putting Moncada at second base,  where he hasn’t played all season. But he played there last year, so it works in that regard.Here’s where each offense ranks in some macro-level stats this year:

ADDENDUM: We’d also add DJ LeMahieu, David Fletcher and Tim Anderson as utility players if we had such a spot; Fletcher and LeMahieu have been excellent while playing multiple positions, and Anderson has been very good but not quite as good as Baez.

Hard-Hit Rate

Note that our hard-hit rate, unlike others’, uses all balls in play and strikeouts as the denominator, not just balls in play.

  1. Los Angeles (35%)
  2. New York (31%)
  3. Chicago (29%)

Defensive Runs Saved

This only includes DRS at the player’s position listed, not their total. Most notably, this removes all of Bellinger’s DRS as a right fielder.

  1. Los Angeles (28)
  2. Chicago (-15)
  3. New York (-24)

The LA team didn’t have any eye-popping numbers, but they did have a positive Runs Saved from every single player, led by Verdugo’s +6 in left field. They would also get a spike if we added in the Dodgers and Angels combined work in shifts (the Dodgers lead the majors in Shift Runs Saved)

The Chicago team was brought down by Heyward (-6) and Castellanos (-6), and Moncada (who was -5 in 2018). New York’s only positive contributor is McNeil (+1) with Rosario (-14) and Torres (-5) its biggest detractors. Neither New York team has performed well in defensive shifts this season.

Wins Above Replacement (Baseball-Reference)

Only offensive WAR is considered for the DHs

  1. Los Angeles (27.7)
  2. New York (19.6)
  3. Chicago (18.4)

Unsurprisingly, having Mike Trout and Cody Bellinger on your team certainly helps your overall production. In fact, 1B and CF are the only two positions where the LA team leads in WAR. New York has a stronghold in LF (4.5 WAR to LA’s 3.2) and Chicago dominates up the middle on the infield (a combined 8.1 WAR to LA’s 5.2 and NY’s 3.6).

So it’s a clean sweep for Los Angeles on the hitting side–let’s see if other teams can make up ground with pitching.

 New YorkLos AngelesChicago
SP1Jacob deGrom (NYM)Clayton Kershaw (LAD)Lucas Giolito (CWS)
SP2Noah Syndergaard (NYM)Walker Buehler (LAD)Kyle Hendricks (CHC)
SP3Marcus Stroman (NYM)Hyun-jin Ryu (LAD)Cole Hamels (CHC)
SP4Domingo German (NYY)Kenta Maeda (LAD)Yu Darvish (CHC)
SP5Zack Wheeler (NYM)Rich Hill (LAD)Jon Lester (CHC)
RP1Aroldis Chapman (NYY)Kenley Jansen (LAD)Alex Colome (CWS)
RP2Adam Ottavino (NYY)Hansel Robles (LAA)Aaron Bummer (CWS)
RP3Zack Britton (NYY)Ty Buttrey (LAA)Brandon Kintzler (CHC)

Different group of players, same exercise: let’s compare some stats:

Hard-Hit Rate Allowed

  1. New York (24%)
  2. Chicago (25%)
  3. Los Angeles (28%)

It was really hard to cobble together a rotation for Los Angeles made up entirely of Dodgers–the Angels really have no starting pitchers of note. That lack of depth really hurt the LA team, namely with the inclusion of Buttrey, whose hard-hit rate is 34%. Surprisingly, Maeda leads the LA pitchers with a 21% hard-hit rate allowed, and Kershaw brings up the rear of the rotation with a 31% rate.

Wins Above Replacement (Baseball-Reference)

  1. New York (18.7)
  2. Chicago (18.5)
  3. Los Angeles (14.5)

0.2 WAR is well within the margin of error for Wins Above Replacement, so you really can’t go wrong when deciding between New York or Chicago for which pitching staff has been best this year. The lack of depth for Los Angeles hurts it once again, with the last two starting pitcher spots combining for just 2.2 WAR, compared to 2.5 for Chicago and 3.9 for New York.

And now, the three hybrid groups ordered by who has the most total Wins Above Replacement:

  1. Los Angeles (42.2)
  2. New York (38.3)
  3. Chicago (36.9)

This is pretty close! Keep in mind we haven’t added in bench players yet — we’ve focused on who the primary players would be — so perhaps New York or Chicago could make up a little ground there (as one reader pointed out, D.J. LeMahieu fits best as a New York utility man). I don’t think you could go wrong with picking any of the three teams. But for me personally, it’s hard to go against the team that has Mike Trout and Cody Bellinger, who could very well end up as the MVPs of their respective leagues. But that’s just who I’d pick right now.

Looking ahead, I’d be very tempted to pick the New York team, whose position players are all young, and whose pitching staff is loaded with potential. Contrasted with the Chicago team (which has a fairly aged pitching staff) and the Los Angeles team (whose pitching staff is rife with injury concerns even for its younger players), it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the New York collection of players end up being the best a few years down the line.

For more MLB content, take a look at some of our other MLB blog posts and for more information about Sports Info Solutions, visit our website.

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